UPDATE: 5:11 p.m., With the news that Taylor’s funeral and burial will be held today, it seems the leading lady will get a Westboro-free service after all.
Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to protest the funeral of Elizabeth Taylor, the Hollywood screen legend and AIDS activist who died Wednesday.
The heart of the tiny Kansas-based church’s ‘ministry’ is protesting the funerals of fallen servicemembers to bring attention to their belief that the deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality. That Taylor worked to bring attention and resources to the HIV/ AIDS epidemic has only emboldened Westboro.
The Supreme Court earlier this month ruled on the side of the church in Snyder v. Phelps, a case that pitted the group against the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a 20-year-old killed in Iraq whose funeral was protested by Westboro. In an 8-1 ruling, the court affirmed the right of Westboro to continue its “cruel and unpopular” funeral protests. In the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “As a nation we have chosen a different course - to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”
After the ruling, Margie Phelps told reporters that she “very much appreciate(s) the fact that I get to be the mouth of God in this matter.” Unfortunately for Westboro, the mouth of God (in their case, Jesus) also said in the Gospel of Matthew,
“Judge not, that you be not judged.
For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
For their part, Taylor’s friends have a message for Westboro. Celebrity reporter Rob Shuter at PopEater reported that a friend said: “Elizabeth would be the first to acknowledge that freedoms don’t just exist when it’s convenient. . . .But we have a voice, too. Don’t get angry, get even. The best way to oppose these people is to make a donation to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.”